Lord’s Cricket Ground tour – not a match report

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Bert writes:

This website has a number of obsessions. Cricket is one, obviously, but there’s cats and fat cricketers and ankylosing spondylitis and all sorts of other stuff. And there is the apostrophe, with particular reference to the correct use thereof.

The thing is, I don’t think this is especially unusual. The link between cricket and punctilious punctuation, that is. There is something about cricket, its atmosphere and culture, that makes it a suitable place for those of us who care about such things. Next time you’re at the cricket, ask the person sitting next to you if correct apostrophe use matters – it’s very likely that you’ll get an affirmative response.

I found myself at Lord’s the other day, taking the kids on a tour of the ground. It occurred to me that I could confirm, or possibly refute, my hypothesis on apostrophes while I was there. I mean, one would expect that the Home of Cricket would also be the Home of Correct Apostrophe Use. So I paid particular attention to this as I took the tour.

Let’s start with something simple – the straightforward adding of a possessive s to a singular noun.


Yep, no problems there. In fact, the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the same correct usage is repeated at the top of the stairs. Well done the MCC. Now, what about plurals?


Ah, exemplary. How many boys? More than one, I’ll be bound. You’ll have to take my word for it, but that same perfection is repeated on each of the display boards in the case. As you might imagine, the children and I spent several happy minutes at this display, bathing in the warmth of the calm, confident typography of the English cricket establishment. Marvellous stuff.

Of course, the name of the place itself – Lord’s – has an apostrophe, indeed one that might trap the unwary user. So how does the MCC get on with this trickiness?


Perfectly, of course. We shouldn’t have expected anything less.


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  1. I’m booked in for the tour next month – not sure I need to bother now.

    Thanks, Bert.

    (I was going to end this comment with “Thank’s, Bert”, but I stopped myself. I’m not a madman)

  2. There’s only one thing worse than the grocer’s errant apostrophe and that is the webmeister’s errant photography.

    I’m utterly convinced that this posting is a masterpiece, once it is complete with photos.

    Be brave, Bert, be steadfast. His majesty will resolve this problem, I am convinced of it.

    1. Why does i’m utterly convinced get an apostrophe and i am convinced doesnt?

      Its time we learn’d to tell the sheeps’ from the goat’s,

  3. Dear fellow commenters: I’ve been asked to share the joyful news that Bert, though still in a state of shock and receiving treatment at the hospital after seeing his wonderful post so grotesquely murdered by the new site, is well on the way to full recovery. Those sudden sharp pains, he has been assured by the doctors, is just gas. He should be back home once the jpegs are fully loaded.

  4. This is indeed a turn up for the books. I realise that the poetry of my writing, combined with its deep philosophical insights and commentary on the condition of man, make this article a masterpiece in its own right. But I think in this case the photos, while far from being the sine qua non, would add a je ne sais quoi. The one of Thora Hird fucking a goat is particularly important to the flow of the piece.

  5. Christ on a carbon fibre time trial bike. Sorry everyone and Bert in particular. The photos *were* there when we published, but perhaps only for us. Once again, we learn that copying and pasting is never enough.

    Images added, reams of seemingly-randomly-generated junk code removed. Half-arsed photo captions about to be added.

  6. Now that the photographs have been revealed and the wonderful example of “a grocer’s” has been exposed, I can unequivocally hail Bert’s photo-journalistic posting as a masterpiece…

    …except for one small but vital point.

    There is no word in the piece about the impact the tour had upon “the kids”, as Bert perhaps rather condescendingly refers to his children. In our society, I firmly believe that we must listen to the children and observe their progress. Especially when unfortunate young people are extracted briefly from their miserable provincial circumstances and briefly shown the promised land that is Lord’s.

    For example, this summer we had a spare ticket for the works outing, so we invited Uncail Marcas’s youngest, who gratefully accepted my offer of an informal tour of the Lord’s pavilion et. al.

    On arrival, the boy of course appeared to me to be a typical poor wretch from rural Kent, presumably barely able to start a sentence without the phrase, “beggin’ yer pardon, sire”. Yet within moments of starting our informal tour, this boy was a fine, upstanding, eloquent and entertaining young man, able to hold his own with the great, the good and even me.

    More importantly, by all accounts, this boy now plays cricket with a straight bat and his school results are improving all the time, apart from the occasional errant apostrophe which seems to have crept in to his written work this term.

    Can you reassure us, Bert, that the tour has had positive affects on your little ones? Frankly, unless we members can be reassured that the effort of running such tours (they barely wash their face financially) has a positive impact on society, it might be easier all round to cancel the tours, make the gates and walls of Lord’s a bit taller and replace the errant tour signs with something simpler: perhaps “Pleb’s Keep Out”.

  7. Fine work as ever, Bert, however I can’t help feel that, in so explicitly submitting this as NOT a match report, a golden opportunity to ramble on about actual cricket in mind-numbing detail has gone begging.

    Also, where do we stand on apostrophes for multiple contractions? Maybe I shouldn’t’ve opened that particular can of worms. What is the correct configuration for “shoudn’t’ve’s” apostrophe’s/s’ position(s)?!

  8. I never know with Bert. Were we supposed to comment on the Tour’s of Lord’s headline?

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